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A Lesson in Leaving

I left my brokerage today. It was a difficult decision which I have struggled with for several months. I probably made it harder than it was, because I had relationships I didn’t want to leave and I was comfortable there. 
As I packed up the few things from my office and said good bye to some friends, I sensed they thought I was making a huge mistake. I’m sure in their mind, I did. I’m alright with that, though. 
One common thread which has comsistently permeated every conversation I have had with other agents who I have talked to about my decision to leave and move on, was how can you be sure it’s a good move for you. I really got to the point where I was beginning to doubt I could make the decision.
We have experienced brokerages closing and merging in the past year, including mine, leaving some agents forced to make a move. Other than being forced, most seem to be okay where they are. I wonder though, is okay enough? Is comfortable a good enough resaon to stay? Many just want to stay and wait for the market to turn around or for things to be the way they used to be. They sit in their office and do the same thing they have done for years, with no progress.
I don’t now yet if my decision was the best one for me. I believe it is. One thing I do know, I stepped out of my comfort zone and it feels good. It feels challenging!  Whether it involves a physical move or a move toward trying something new, I wish a few more of my peers would step out with me. Comfortable is easy; stepping out and making the move is invigorating!

Written By

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.



  1. Heather Elias

    November 20, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I left mine on Monday! Same sort of reactions. While I have made a switch in the past, I found myself nearly paralyzed with anxiety this time around, wondering if I was making the right choice. It remains to be seen for the long term, but I can say in the short term that I am waking up looking forward to a new day, with enthusiasm..and that’s a heck of a good start. Invigorating is a great word!

    Best wishes to you, we’ll start a new journey together! =)

  2. Ken Brand

    November 20, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I’m sure you made the right decision, especially if you believe and act like it.

    I attended a Leadership Workshop this week and the speaker (Mike Sarver – go listen to him if you ever can) said the following about the Comfort Zone. I’m paraphrasing, “Stepping outside our comfort zone isn’t easy, it’s hard, but but doing so expands your comfort zone. While we sit staus-quo in the comfort zone, it shrinks”

    Rock on the best wishes.

  3. Maureen Francis

    November 20, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Change is rarely comfortable but it helps us to grow. Congratulations on your move.

  4. Missy Caulk

    November 20, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Paula, where did you go? I know you’ve been thinking about it for a long time so you will have relief just to making up your mind.

    I’m sure it will be fine.

  5. Jim Gatos

    November 21, 2008 at 5:31 am

    I “flipped” around 6 or 7 times myself but when I did, the choice of agencies were very limited, very cut throat and just pretty week. It probably would’ve been better to open up my own but then virtual offices were unheard of. I’d like to know where you went too…

  6. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Heather – Thank You! Congratulations on your move! It is difficult, it would have been so much easier to stay. To say I was paralyzd with anxiety is putting it mildly. I actually made the decision once before, then changed my mind. It is a huge relief to have finally let go and move forward. Now, to go order signs 🙂

  7. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Ken – ah, you are a man of wisdom! Believing and acting like my decision is a good one has been key. I have flipped back and forth on this decision and now I do feel good about it.

    I love your paraphrase.It’s true – many agents have said to me, they don’t want to learn new ways of doing business and their comfort zone is shrinking.

  8. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:11 am

    Maureen – Growth is exactly what I need!

    Missy – I decided to go to Keller Williams. A pivotal factor was my previous broker at my first RE/MAX here is now the
    Operating Broker at this KW. Thanks for the conversations and encouragement!

  9. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Jim – It is hard! I have flipped back and forth on this decision for awhile. When my RE/MAX merged, they did so with an office in a smaller town outside of Indianapolis. Many times, I heard the phrase, oh, you’re all the way out there?

    Virtual is not quite as common here as it is in some bigger cities.Someday, I may be my own broker, just not yet.

  10. Jason Sandquist

    November 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I switched brokers on Wednesday. Nothing against the old broker, there was something that intrigued me about the new company and I just had to try it out.

  11. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Jason – My immense respect for both brokers is what has made this a dificult decision.
    Good Luck on your move!

  12. Mark Storolis

    November 21, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I disagree Paula. Moving to a new brokerage, does not a good agent make. “Comfort zones” are not barriers, they are habits. And habits do not change by joining a new team. Pick up a copy of Ralph Roberts “Walk Like a Giant and Sell Like a Madman” pages 39-42 – see a thorough explanation why changing brokerage causes more harm than good. The grass is rarely greener.

  13. Ken Brand

    November 21, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Mark, Could be a mistake, could be the greatest thing that ever happened, time will tell. As you point out, “Rarely” is the key work, not “Never”. My experience is that agents that join our team from another “usually” do much better.

    Brokerages have varied cultures and images, and tools and systems, leadership and technologies. When someone considers all aspects and decides to align in a new way, that’s a positive. Habits can change and comfort zones can expand when immersed and influenced by a new culture.

    Moving doesn’t make you bad or good, how you deliver, grow, act, walk and talk make you and the decesion good or bad.

    Only time will tell.

    My 5cents.

  14. Mark Storolis

    November 21, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Yes Ken, you are getting to the heart of the matter. The opportunity for growth must come from within the individual. Immersing oneself in a new community can have motivational effects, but I argue that those effects are short-lived and ineffective at best. Bad agents at a bad company will also be bad agents at a good company. I have watched too many agents jump the fence and simply frustrate themselves. Individuals excel through individual performance – not by association.

  15. Jim Gatos

    November 21, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Well, I’m very happy where I am. I did try another agency for 2 years but went back to Coldwell Banker. I do agree with Mark S, though. Too many changes can be a bad thing.

  16. Ken Brand

    November 21, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I’m with you Mark, making changes as an excuse will not work. Making changes as part of a well though out strategy for growth and opportunity works well. I wrote a blog post this week on Excuse Tourettes.

  17. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 21, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Everything happens for a reason…Sure it’ll prove to be a great move and that’ll do better than ever!

  18. Bridget Magnus

    November 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, you described my day pretty well….

  19. Nickie Rothwell

    November 21, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Hi Paula and congratulations!

    Making a change after so many years can be scary, but clearly you have been wanting change for some time.

    It sounds like a very exciting time for you! I believe you will do well wherever you are.

    Best wishes to you as you follow this new path!

  20. teresa boardman

    November 22, 2008 at 5:59 am

    I remember when I left Coldwell Banker. I got the lecture from people in the office about what a mistake it was to leave. The office I worked out of is no more. They closed and the agents were absorbed by other offices.

  21. Ginger Wilcox

    November 22, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Paula- it sounds like you put a lot of thought into this move. Moving brokerages is never easy. I made a move that was a mistake when I first moved into a new real estate market (had worked in another state). I lived with my decision for a year, watched my business suffer, and finally made another move, which equaled three in a short time. It was the best decision I could have ever made. While I agree with Mark, there are times when a move does make good sense.
    Best of luck to you at your new brokerage!

  22. Vicki Lloyd

    November 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I have changed offices a few times in the last 15 years. Each time was for a different reason, but once I made up my mind, I felt very energized to make the change, and each time I did it, my business improved because my attitude did.

    KW has a good business model and I spent 4 years with one of their offices. Each office is a little different because it is franchaised and each office and regional owner has a slightly different perception.

    If your goals are parallel to theirs, you will do well and be happy. If not, you will learn more about what you really want an office to be for you.

    Good luck on your new adventure!

  23. Jonathan Dalton

    November 23, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I had the same thing as Teresa, more or less. The company’s still there, the office out of which I worked was closed two months after I left ostensibly because of a lease dispute. Agents were dispersed to one of two other offices, neither particularly close.

    When I made the move in January, there was more than a little anxiety attached. I had become accustomed to life on my former company’s relocation wheel and wasn’t sure if I’d make it solo.

    After posting the best year I’ve had for sales, commissions, etc. there’s not the slightest question I made the right decision. Though the change in business was less due to the new brokerage than a change in my own habits caused by the break.

    Good luck, Paula … you’ll be dine.

  24. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 23, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    This is interesting,
    When I left my first brokerage – I was told I was making a big mistake. It was in 2006 and thing had just started slowing down. It was the atmosphere and the sense that it was a brokerage mired in the boom that made me do it.

    The brokerage I went to actually DID fold – but at least they had some better ideas. But they were too small to survive the downturn. The original brokerage seems to be struggling with high overhead and far fewer agents. Many of the people who told me I was making a mistake are GONE. Most were absorbed by other brokerages.

    I too am at Keller Williams. If your office is as well run as mine is, it will be a good move for you.

  25. Vicki Moore

    November 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    So what if you made a mistake. We make decisions based on the information we have at the time. Don’t like it? Go back.

    Could be change is just what you need. It’s done. So go enjoy it!

  26. Paula Henry

    January 23, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Darn Vickie – Were you psychic?

    Has it really been two months?

    About half way through the comments here, I decided the move was not a good fit for me. Was it a move for the sake of moving – I don’t know. Even with all my considerable thought, it just didn’t feel right.

    I hung on a couple more months and have now made a move I can live with – and am excited about – not for the sake of moving.

    Simply, I found a broker(independent) whose marketing and online strategies are more aligned with mine. Honestly, it may be harder work, for now. It is quite rewarding planning an online strategy, combined with offline networking with someone who “gets it”.

    Thanks to each of you for your comments and support.

  27. Jim Gatos

    January 23, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I just went back to Keller Williams. 2.5 years of Coldwell Banker and I’m outta here.. LOL…

    I’ve always loved the KW model, They had problems, yes, but they ironed most of them away. I like owning my own business..

  28. Vicki Moore

    January 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I wish! Congratulations.

  29. Paula Henry

    January 24, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Jim –

    Well, I’m happy to see I’m not the only one who has changed again:) Good Luck at KW!

    If our RE/MAX offices had never merged, I would probably still be with the RE/MAX I started with here in Indy.

    Live and learn!

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